Minnesota State IT Center of Excellence held the 2022 Minnesota State Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition on February 5, 2022. Due to the pandemic the full competition was held remotely with teams participating across Minnesota.
Minnesota State IT Center of Excellence (MN STATE IT COE), one of eight Minnesota State Centers of Excellences, provides high school and college students a variety of resources and programs to support the ever-changing world of Information Technology and Computer Science. The Center has contributed significantly by reaching out to thousands of secondary students, funded dozen of new curriculum efforts, and leads numerous other efforts aimed at increasing the quality and quantity of IT talent in the state.
One of the annually sponsored and organized events is the Minnesota State Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC). Winners of the Minnesota CCDC advance to Regional CCDC (https://www.cssia.org/mwccdc/) hosted by Moraine Valley Community College in Illinois with a chance to compete at the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition At Texas San Antonio, Texas in April, 2022. (https://www.nationalccdc.org/index.php) This year all events are held remotely due to the Pandemic.
This year over 100 students from 9 different Minnesota State System institutions came together for a full day of competition and learning.
In a controlled virtual environment, CCDC competitors assume administrative and protective duties for an existing “commercial” network – typically a small company with 50+ users, 7 to 10 servers, and common Internet services such as a web server, mail server, and e-commerce site. Each team begins the competition with an identical set of hardware and software and is scored on their ability to detect and respond to outside threats, maintain availability of existing services such as mail servers and web servers, respond to business requests such as the addition or removal of additional services, and balance security needs against business needs.
Throughout the competition an automated scoring engine is used to verify the functionality and availability of each team’s services on a periodic basis and traffic generators continuously feed simulated user traffic into the competition network. A volunteer Red Team (Ethical Hackers) provides the “external threat” of all Internet-based services which allows the teams to match their defensive skills against live opponents (hackers).
The competition was tight this year with the top five (5) teams all within 300 points (out of 28,000). Lake Superior College finished in third place for the third straight year, despite being a team member short. LSC is also the only team to finish in the top three for the past three years. Lake Superior College is a designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). LSC is the only two-year community and technical college in the Minnesota to earn this designation.
1st Place – Metropolitan State University, St. Paul, MN
2nd Place – Minneapolis College, Minneapolis, MN
3rd Place – Lake Superior College, Duluth, MN
4th Place – Pine Technical and Community College, Pine City, MN
Other Participating Teams: Alexandria Community and Technical College (Alexandria, MN), Century College (White Bear Lake, MN), Hennepin Technical College (Brooklyn Park), Minnesota State Community and Technical College (Moorhead), and St. Cloud State University (St. Cloud).
Metropolitan State University will automatically move on to the Regional CCDC on March 18-19, 2022, and 2nd and 3rd Place Teams – Minneapolis College and Lake Superior College will complete in the Midwest Wildcard on March 5, 2022, for an additional chance to move on to the Regional as well.